Artwork by @mystupidsketchbook
WHO is he?
“My name is Chris Athorne. I’m an alternative folk, singer songwriter living in Brighton and I perform under the name of ‘Oktoba’. I’ve been based in Brighton for two and half years but originally from Suffolk, where I grew up.”
“From a very young age music had its hold on me. With early memories of tinkering on the family piano and the usual suspects of my parents record collection playing, The Beatles, Clapton, Dire Strates to name a few would be the soundtrack to many years of my life and still. Although, as much as music was so important to me, I didn’t start playing the guitar until I was 18.”“Throughout my late teens I started really discovering music for myself. Researching artist after artist and learning more and more about them and their music. I was really into the surfer folk scene. Artists like Jack Johnson, Mason Jennings, Beautiful Girls and Ben Harper. That bluesy, acoustic folk sound. The words of these artists really resinated with me and the songs were all bound together by these warm acoustic, sometimes really raw arrangements. They were writing songs with real honesty and albums that captured a real moment of mine and my friends lives around that time of finishing school and having to take those next life steps. It was a real turning point for me and it was that time and those artists we were listening to that inspired me to want to be a musician.”
“For three years at University I really focused on playing the guitar and writing songs. When I finished Uni I moved back home and for the first time found my myself forming my own band. A four piece bluesy, folk, rock outfit called This Boy Wonders. It was an incredible time and experience with our biggest achievement playing both the Reading and Leeds BBC introducing stages. However by the time I was moving to Brighton the band was slowing down and I decided that I wanted to start a solo project, finishing up with This Boy Wonders and starting Oktoba.”
WHAT is he singing about?
“I try to write honestly about life. Where I’ve travelled, relationships, family, love, people that I’ve met. Anything that can give a little window into my life but also topics and subjects that people can really relate too. I like to be able to connect with the audience, to almost allow it to feel like it could be their story that I’m singing about.”
Life is the biggest inspiration because something is always going to happen. It’s just about being able to translate whatever that something is into a song.
WHERE did he grow up?
“I grew up in the Suffolk countryside in a village called Boxford. Suffolk was amazing, beautiful landscapes, quaint little towns and villages, lovely people and it gave me a great childhood. Although after a while for me anyway I felt like I needed to escape a bit, to get out and see the world and live in new places. I guess that’s why a fair few of the songs I write are about leaving home or starting new things.”
“Since Suffolk I’ve lived in Leeds, London and now Brighton. All very different cities but all with their own character and music scene. Brighton I feel though has something really special about it. The music scene is so diverse but also so accessible and the level is so high. As a singer and songwriter it really pushes you. In my opinion, although I’m relatively biased I’d say it’s one of the best in the world for new music.”
WHY the name Oktoba?
“I wanted a name that represented me. My birthday is in October and my favourite season is Autumn. I just changed the spelling to be really really awkward. I really draw inspiration from that time of year and wanted the name to capture that too.”
WHEN can I see him live?
“At the moment I’m in the middle of a tour. Throughout September to December I’m playing just under 20 shows around the country and also had three in the States in New York and Chicago.”
Nov 6th – Cult Cafe / Ipswich
Nov 11th – The Star / London Hackney
Nov 19th – Marwood Cafe / Brighton
Nov 20th – The Living Room / Bury St Edmunds (HUNTERS Club)
Dec 6th – Sofarsounds / Cambridge
HOW can I get to know him better?
Listen & Watch: Soundcloud // Youtube // Bandcamp
Like & Follow: Facebook // Twitter // Instagram
Oktoba’s debut album Smoke Signals is out now. Available to download here.